Housing boss who saved town’s history
The chairwoman of Rutherglen and Cambuslang Housing Association has stood down after 30 years.
Geraldine Baird MBE, of Caledonia Avenue, Rutherglen, relinquished the role at the association’s annual general meeting.
She was one of the founder members of the association in 1980 when it set about saving many of the tenement properties in Rutherglen that had been scheduled for demolition.
The dedicated band feared deterioration could lead to demolition and the historic character of the town would be lost.
Geraldine ( 64) remembers the living conditions that drove her to do something about it.
“At the time I lived in Victoria Street in a flat with an outside toilet so having personal experience of the situation helped me know how bad it was for people,” she said.
With a lot of hard work the association persuaded Glasgow District Council to declare the tenements action areas for improvement and this opened the door to funding from the government to modernise them and save them from demolition.
In the years that followed the association improved over 600 flats in Rutherglen and Cambuslang, bringing them up to modern-day standards.
Since then the association has gone from strength to strength, developing new homes in Cambuslang, Cathkin and Rutherglen and investing almost £60million in the community.
Geraldine counts the development of the Aspire Business Centre on the site of the old East Parish Church, which brought much-needed jobs to the area, as one outcome which gives her personal satisfaction.
“I look at it and it gives me great pride to think that the association helped retain an iconic site in the town,” said Geraldine.
In 2004 Geraldine received the MBE for her housing work.
She said: “I was delighted to receive the honour but the recognition should go to all of the volunteers who have served on the management committee in the association’s 35year history.
“I was born and brought up in Rutherglen and I love the place and its people. They are so warm, welcoming and charitable.”
Geraldine intends to continue to serve on the management committee.
“I would really like to see some new blood come on board. If we could encourage younger tenants to get involved that would be great,” she said.
Dave Anderson, director of Rutherglen and Cambuslang Housing Association, paid tribute to Geraldine’s work.
“She has been a tremendous ambassador for the association and raised its profile across Scotland,” he said.
“She has certainly turned it into the successful organisation it is today.”
Geraldine worked for 20 years as a housing manager with North View Housing Association in Castlemilk before retiring.
She is married to Stuart and praised him for his “support, interest, and great input as a sounding board”.
Geraldine also has a daughter, Katy, who is a performing artist.
I love Rutherglen and its people. They are so warm.
Great service Geraldine Baird